While news outlets don't just invent numbers on the budget, it would not be much of a change for the worse if they did. The news stories that we saw following the release of President Obama's budget followed the same practice we have seen in budget stories for decades. They threw very large numbers at readers that no one understands.
To the extent that the Obama budget is intended as a "campaign blueprint" -- to signal to working families that Obama cares about them and to force the Republicans to cast difficult votes -- it is a very small step in the right direction. But it probably will sway a few voters, because it doesn't make enough of a difference. Obama is being branded a populist by the establishment press and irresponsible by Republicans for what is really a very tame program. He should at least earn these adjectives and get the public's attention. As it is, he might as well be hanged for a sheep. He might as well come out for policies that would make a real difference. That would actually be worthy of the terms "populist" and "campaign blueprint."
The president's 2015 budget proposal "pivots" away from the 2010 "pivot" to austerity, pushes modestly for jobs and prioritizes infrastructure repair. Republicans will obstruct this -- just like they have obstructed every jobs plan since the stimulus. But the public fully supports what the president is trying to do.
Helping your grandkids navigate the road to their financial future is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Make it a fun and natural component of your time together. Keep a journal and take photos of your journey, having the kids add notes along the way. They're going to treasure it when they're older and keep the tradition of financial education with their own children.
So whether this movement is called "populist" or "Progressive" or plain old "liberal," what matters is that it is starting to see success in its efforts to ensure that the well-being of the People becomes our leaders' first and foremost priority again, and not that of the handful of self-indulgent corporatists.
The White House has confirmed that President Obama won't include the "chained CPI" (a formula for reducing cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security benefits) in his 2015 budget. It's clear that it was a political calculus that prompted this step today -- but we have to be vigilant and prepared for a renewed battle over the chained CPI in the near future.